Football

Five steps Juventus must take to become a European force

Buffon will soon need replacing for Juventus. (©GettyImages)
Buffon will soon need replacing for Juventus. (©GettyImages).

Juventus were simply outclassed by Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Considering they are the run away leaders of the Serie A, it is not good enough.

The Old Lady last won the trophy in 1996 and have since come runners-up twice. But the famous club hasn’t gone beyond the quarter-final stage this century.

So what steps must Juventus take to become a dominant force in Europe once again?

Sign a new striker

Out of all of Europe’s top clubs, Juventus are the only one who do not have a penalty box predator in their ranks. Fernando Llorente is due to arrive in June, but he may not be enough. 

Although the big Spaniard comes with a large aerial threat and a lot of strength to give Juventus a second option in attack, he is not what they are lacking, as Alessandro Matri can offer the same dangers to other clubs. 

What they need is the successor to Alessandro Del Piero. Although Giovinco has talent in abundance, he has failed to recreate the form that he was famous for at Parma and he could be let go in the summer. Liverpool’s Luis Suarez has a similar style to that of the Juventus legend, and although Suarez may not be as talented as Del Piero was, he will offer Juventus creativity and also a genuine goal scoring threat.

Find Andrea Pirlo’s replacement

Andrea Pirlo is quite arguably the difference between the Juventus side that were languishing in seventh in Serie A to being Italy’s strongest club. Obviously signings like Arturo Vidal, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Kwadwho Asamoah helped things, but none of the above have been as pivotal to Juventus’ success as Pirlo has. The graceful midfielder is Juventus’ and Italy’s talisman, but as incredible Pirlo is, he will be 34 before the current campaign is finished.

 It was evident in the tie with Bayern Munich that Pirlo was tired as he had already played almost 40 games for the Bianconeri in 2012/13. Marco Veratti from Paris Saint Germain or Radja Nainggolan of Cagliari would definitely ease the pressure on l’Architetto, and would also give Juventus a replacement for when Pirlo hangs up his boots. 

Although Veratti is still young and inexperienced, he would learn from the best and quickly develop into a world-class midfielder, whereas Nainggolan has been one of Serie A’s best midfielders for a couple of seasons now.

Find Gianluigi Buffon’s successor

Although Buffon continues to be one of the best ‘keepers in the world at 35, he has been showing signs of fatigue this season. Buffon should still be considered as Juventus’ first choice should they sign a young understudy, like Mattia Perrin. 

The young Genoa owned Italian has impressed on loan this season at Pescara, and it looks like he’s destined for greatness. If he got the move to Juventus, he would get a chance to learn from the best ‘keeper of his generation, and this way, he could prove to be as pivotal to Juventus as the great Gigi Buffon has been for the past 12 years.

Make the summer transfer window a successful one

Antonio Conte will likely be given a transfer budget of between £40-50 million, and he must use this to bring in one or two world-class players rather than four or five good players.

 The signing of Alexis Sanchez and Luis Suarez would give Juventus the attacking talent they need to challenge Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Real Madrid. 

Although £40-50 million may not be enough to prize Suarez and Sanchez away from Liverpool and Barcelona, the sales of fringe players like Paolo De Ceglie and Emanuele Giaccherini to Wolfsburg and Schalke 04 who are supposedly interested, could raise around £15 million for the Turin giants, which should prove sufficient. 

With an attacking trident like Sanchez-Suarez-Vucinic, they would be able to challenge for the Champions League.

Hire a new assistant for Antonio Conte

As good as a manager Antonio Conte is, he is still yet to prove how good of a tactician he is. When the chips are down, Juventus usually find a way back through grit, hard work and determination, but while they were playing against Bayern, Jupp Heynckes perfectly nullified the Juventus threat by over-pressuring them. 

Over-pressuring a team is often risky as it can leave gaps at the back, but other than one or two scares, Bayern Munich played two perfect games and the 4-0 aggregate win shows that. 

But if Juventus had a tactical genius as well as Conte’s exceptional leadership, Juventus would become an even tougher nut to crack. Should they have changed and attacked down the flanks a in their quarter-final tie, it could well have been Juventus in the last four of Europe’s showpiece competition. 

Although it may be hard to tempt him to take an assistants role, Alberto Malesani would be perfect for the job. He has always lacked leadership, but is a tactical magician, and could come up with the Plan B in big matches when Juventus need it.


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